Friday, November 27, 2009

Good Week , Bad Week

On Sunnday the washing machine broke.

On Monday there was a leak coming from upstairs. The tenants don't care. The landlord won't answer her phone to me, following the last time when they flooded our place and she claimed it was nothing to do with her. We have turned the water supply off. 3 days without water hasn't bothered the tenants - we have been showering in the morning while they are still asleep.

On Tuesday my colleague bought me a plant to cheer me up. I was so touched I almost cried

On Wednesday, I won £10 on the lottery and laughed a lot at a play at the Royal Court Theatre

On Thursday, I attended my first AGM at the new job and I was personally thanked for something during the Chair's speech.

On Friday, the washing machine was fixed. I spoke to the insurance company, their legal assistance department, the Environmental Health department of the Council and the water company about the leaking from upstairs. Whilst the landlord is legally responsible for it, it could months of us taking them to court to force them to have the problem fixed. In the meantime, I have been advised to "take down the ceiling" ourselves to stop it collapsing and that I could be prosecuted for depriving the upstairs flat of water even though we have tried every means to contact the tenants and the landlord.

On balance an awful awful week with no signs of anything getting any better.

Monday, November 16, 2009

B is for Bicycle

I haven't been on a bike since I was fifteen (I've mentioned this before) but I'm increasingly drawn to bicycles. I found myself enjoying the Tour de France this year (mainly because of Bradley Wiggins) and aesthetically I find bicycles very pleasing. I think it might be the spokes.

After laudrettes (again I've mentioned this before), bicycles are my second favourite thing to photograph.

And bicycles feature on so many pretty things:
Bowls, cups and other colourful ceramcis from Circa Ceramics

Silk cushions by Ferm Living

and the B mug in the Urban Alphabet range by Big Tomato Company.

A project associated with my work fixes bicycles and the other day I found myself casually asking how much they sold the refurbished bikes for. Perhaps my days as a non-cycler won't last much longer.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dog Day Afternoon

I have just spent the most enjoyable Sunday in a long time. We went to the Discover Dogs exhibition at Earls Court. It was superb.

200 breeds of dogs, from the slobering massive Mastiffs to the tiny Chihuahuas. Tibetian Terriers are probably still my favourites, although I had my head turned by some adorable Havanese, enjoyed stroking a candy floss like Bichon Frise and was nuzzled by a very friendly Bearded Collie by the name of Riley. The OH was rather smitten with the Glen of Imaal Terriers, who he said he would name Glen or Lamal.
We watched a round of the agility competition but had to exit the arena in a hurry in avoid seeing Mary Ray performing heel to music to the Riverdance.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What I Learnt This Week

Where unbranded biscuits are concerned, custard cream are a safer option than chocolate digestives.

This Consumer Life

As posts where people list the things they've purchased recently seem to be pretty popular on other blogs, I thought I would do my own version.

Atomic Magazine Rack
A cheap and cheerful rip-off of a classic 1950s design. Technically I don't need another magazine rack - I don't even read many magazines other than Sunday supplements - but you can never have too many storage solutions.

Cashmere Mix Jumper Dress
I had an images in my head for weeks of the perfect jumper dress. It was to be of a length that that was short enough to possibly look like I'd insouciantly just thrown on a jumper over my tights, but long enough to be decent. It was ideally going to be grey, but although this dress also came in two shades of grey, neither was quite right. so, as so often in the past, I bought the black.

Laundry Bin
Shopping for laundry bins is not interesting. I wished I could have been buying anything else and very nearly got sidetracked by a bread bin instead, but in the end I came home with this, which was the least dull option.

Leather Satchel
This was featured at full price in the Sunday Times style magazine, where it seemed a bargain. But I got it for half price. It is very practical with useful pockets. I've owned it a week and I've not misplaced my keys, travelcard or phone once.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Music to Iron To

i decided that if I was going to iron for the week ahead, that it pass quicker if I had music on while I did it. The ipod was set to random and off I went. Whilst it did make the task almost enjoyable, it did slow things down as I spent half of the time time skipping tracks as I discovered that certain songs just cannot be ironed to. No matter how much I love "Thirteen" by Big Star, it just doesn't encourge the smoothing rhythm necessary to leave a shirt crinkle-free.

Here are the songs that gave the best de-creasing results:

Dancing in the Street by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
Vicar in a Tutu by The Smiths
Jump into the Fire by Harry Nilsson
Liar, Liar by The Castaways
Radio Free Europe by REM
Just Keep Walking by INXS
Paris is Burning by Ladyhawke

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Morbid Curiosity

I shouldn't have watched it. Complaining about it now, I realise that the simple solution would have been to not watch it. I may be turning into my Auntie Dorothy who used to purposefully watch programmes she would find offensive so she could complin.

And so long as people like me are willing to watch these things, so they will continue to exist. We have stooped to a new low and I am partly responsible because I watched some of it.

I'm referring to the Michael Jackson Seance.

Why did I watch (some of) it? The OH was out for the evening, to watch boxing, which in retrospect I may have enjoyed more as unlikely as it may be. So I drifted to watching rubbish on television and after two old episodes of "What Not to Wear", I watching this rubbish.

I was not a huge Michael Jackson fan (I'm writing this extremely cautiously as the last time I wrote about him, elsewhere, I was attacked by legions of fans). He was talented. The Jackson 5 were great. I liked a lot of his early stuff, although its not really my cup of tea. Equally, I don't usually watch these television ghost hunt type programmes. I don't think I believe in ghosts, but I am not certain. What I am certain of is that if they do exist, they are not communicating with this world through Derek Acorah.

The seance was a combination of exploitation and bandwagon jumping, never a good mix. It involved a known fraud, some emotionally vulnerable people and a couple of celebrities who would do anything to appear on television more. The programme started badly with David Guest complimenting June Sarpong on her beautiful lips and white teeth, and it went downhill from there.

The seance participants were four Jackson superfans. At least two of them seemed disturbed before it started and were sobbing uncontrollably once things got going (FACT: no matter how much you like someone's music and feel it is talking to you and you feel you know him through his lyrics and think he is a good person because of the things you know about him, you did not know this person - they were not actually your friend or your family, and if their death affects you as if they were, then things have got out of control). Even Sarpong seemed troubled when one of them brokedown when in "communicating" with his idol. I turned it off before the other two received their messages. I never did find out if Jackson's hat flew around the room as a finale.

Why couldn't there have been a cynic thrown into it? Or someone who believes in the paranormal but without the attachment to Jackson? And the introduction stated that they would not be getting into the legal area of who did what on the night he died. How could they know that? Ok so Acorah might not ask those questions, but how could he control what Jackson wanted to talk about? He might have been angry and want to point the finger at the guilty parties? But happily for Sky's legal department, he was compliant and didn't stray into slanderous territory.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Overheard Conversions No. 8

Shopping in Habitat, a very very posh couple were conversing with each other across the shop, shouting "Darling" before each product analysis, which included this from the man:

"Darling. Look at this. A decanter dryer. What stage do you need to have reached in life where you need a special device to dry your decanters?"

I'm not sure myself, but clearly neither myself and the other half, nor the Darlings have reached this stage as they left empty-handed and we bought a linen bin.

If you have reached that stage in life (I suspect I never will), then Habitat in the Westfield Centre has plenty of Decanter Dryers in stock.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Fish Wife

On a temporary basis, we have a third person sharing our office. For reasons that are too complicated/sensitive/dull/ridiculous to go into here, she is not allowed to do any work at the moment, but is still expected to come into the office each day. To fill her time, she talks a lot about not much and seems to be on an endless cycle of reapplying her lipstick, handcream and perfume. The frequent sprays of the latter in a small windowless room has left me with stinging red eyes, but I haven't said anything because since she is only there short-term I didn't see the point in offending her and I reasoned that there were worse smells than an over-powering headache inducing perfume. Today I was reminded of one.

This morning I saw a pack of smoked salmon on her desk. "Shouldn't that be in the fridge" I thought to myself on my way out of the office. Minutes later on my way back in, I saw the salmon was open and she was snacking on stripes of it.

It wasn't even 11am. Surely there are better things for a mid morning snack than fish? I'm biased because I don't like any fish or seafood, but I understand that others may enjoy it for lunch or as a meal. But surely not as a snack? Its like sharing an office with a seal.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Bad Manners

Years ago I lived with a German woman who found it confusing that we British were always saying sorry. For example if someone ask us directions and we don't know, we say "I'm sorry, I don't know" and she would say "Why are you sorry? Its not your fault or your problem".

I was dashing from the train to the bus, when a boy who could have been no more than 14 asked me if I had a light. As a) I didn't have a light b) even if I did, I wouldn't have given it to someone underage, and c) I was rushing for a bus, I merely said "no". To which the lad replied "You should say 'Sorry no' not just no".

The cheek! I could begin to see that my old flatmate had a point.